Learning about nutrition and developing healthy eating habits is part of our Core Fitness Competency because maintaining good physical health contributes to a well-balanced sober life.
Teen Nutritional Planning is Important in Early Sobriety
Vista Academy provides individualized nutrition plans for each student based on what they need. We teach students proper cooking techniques, how to balance a plate, and how to choose healthy options that will give them energy to grow into adulthood.
There are many sources of proper teen nutrition. Eating fruits and vegetables is a requirement, as is consuming an appropriate amount of dairy products. Protein is abundant in meat, fish and poultry, as is iron. Additionally, dark green vegetables are great sources of iron. Calcium comes from dairy products, along with protein. Good sources of fiber include whole grain breads and cereals and fruit.
Why is Healthy Nutrition so Important to Teens?
Specific nutrients are especially important during the teen years. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration places emphasis on iron and calcium because of the special roles these nutrients play in teen development (1). Lack of iron can lead to anemia, and sluggish feelings during the day, negatively affecting alertness in school, at work and even during athletic participation. Iron intake is especially important for teenage girls, as menstruation depletes iron. Calcium is important for future health. The teen years are ideal for building bone mass with the help of calcium (2). Brittle bones in the future (osteoporosis) and other health problems can result from a lack of calcium during the teen years.
The effects of regular consumption of junk food, such as fast food, soda, potato chips and other popular snacks, include the following:
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Risk of becoming obese, now or later in life
- Some cancers are related to excess fat and sugar intake
- Greater chance of diabetes later in life
- Increased tendency toward hypertension